On average, Americans gain approximately one to two pounds during the holiday season.
- This isn’t dramatic, but research shows it tends to stick and accumulate over the years.
- With just a few strategies, you can avoid holiday weight gain while still enjoying friends, family and the holiday feast!
- Avoid skipping meals
- Skipping meals often results in a sluggish metabolism, increased hunger, and overeating later.
It is especially important to eat breakfast.
- Research shows that people who eat breakfast consume fewer calories during the day.
- Try to include all food groups but especially high fiber whole grains, fruits, and protein.
- Start with veggies
Try filling half your plate with lower-calorie party foods like fruits and vegetables.
- Research shows eating a salad before your meal can help you eat fewer calories overall.
- Bring a veggie tray or fruit salad to your holiday party.
- Don’t forget that even though a food is considered “healthy”, like sweet potatoes or cranberries, they still contain calories and portions should be controlled.
- Healthy Substitutions
- You can substitute more nutritious items to make your recipes a little healthier, such as chicken broth instead of butter in mashed potatoes, or applesauce instead of oil in baked goods.
- These substitutions not only boost the nutrition profile of the dish, but may also decrease calories, fat, and sodium.
- Enjoy in Moderation
- For those special holiday dishes and treats, start by making just one trip to the buffet line and choose the foods you really want to eat.
- Remember these everyday objects when portioning food (see display).
- Use a smaller plate (9 inches) to trick the brain into thinking portion sizes are bigger than they actually are.
- Wait at least 10 minutes after you are finished eating to go back for seconds - it takes 20 minutes for your brain to realize your stomach is full.
- Try to stay in a room away from the food and focus on the conversation and party atmosphere.
- Be active
- Activity helps to burn extra calories eaten during the day, so they don’t contribute to weight gain.
There are small things you can do to remain active – just 10 minutes of activity each day makes a difference.
- If you are at a party, try to stand while mingling with guests to burn more calories.
- Go on a walk after dinner or engage in a game of touch football or charades.
- Help clean up after the meal.
- Park far away and take the stairs.
- Participate in a local race or event.